by Dan Carns
I have the pleasure of chasing Striped Bass every year on Cape Cod with six or seven Vermonters and this trip was a record breaker! Kayak fishing the Cape is like fishing anywhere else, you show up at your chosen launch, load all your gear and set course. Unlike many locations, the Cape juts out into the Atlantic Ocean so it is entirely surrounded by crystal clear, nutrient rich waters teeming with bait fish. The cold waters from the Gulf of Maine pour into Cape Cod Bay and sweep around Race Point to the north, while the warm Gulf Stream races up from the south transporting large migratory predators, including bluefin tuna and great white sharks. What sets the Striped Bass apart from other fish species is it will fill in any saltwater environment and amass in huge schools from the canal to the outer beaches. Anyone with a fishing pole has the opportunity to catch a linesider, from bridge or boat and of course a kayak being the most versatile craft. These fish eat virtually anything in the water from clams, crabs and worms to live baits including mackerel, eels, and chunk baits.
My guys love to target these hard hitting, drag ripping fish with artificials including top water, paddle tails, and anything else that presents itself as a bait imitator. Smaller fish (schoolies) had filled in all the estuaries and schools of large keeper size (twenty-eight inches and over) where being reported off Herring Cove Beach in Provincetown. We camp in Eastham at the Atlantic Oaks Campground, so after a night of gear checks, knot tying, beer drinking and fish stories we arose at 2:45 am and headed to the tip at Herring Cove. This particular day was warm, calm winds and we were there just as the light began to creep up over the eastern horizon. We launched at day break, all six striper men, two rods apiece, with a vast array of lures, using our collective knowledge from past trips as a guide to start. We fished our way out past the first mile without a single strike and continued out another half mile when the action started. Beautiful fish in the 25” range were tagging the paddle tails, all six of us were on at one point! We were drifting out with the tide while catching and releasing fish when the first “big” fish was hooked and then another! Pictures, hoots, and howls pursued until we boated our limit of one keeper per person plus 80 additional fish collectively. Eventually the fishing slacked off and we knew that this was an epic year for our group!
Shout out to Atlantic Oaks Campground for providing us with a home away from home and an awesome fish cleaning station!